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New regulations boost adoption by relatives

Ambika Pandit / TNN / Updated: Sep 27, 2023, 17:33 IST

The number of adoptions by relatives and step parents has increased significantly since the new adoption regulations were implemented in September last year, according to data from the Central Adoption Resource Authority. Between October 2022 and August this year, there were 260 adoptions in this category, compared to only 230 between April 2019 and September 2022.

NEW DELHI: Since the new adoption regulations were notified in September last year, data available with the Central Adoption Resource Authority shows a significant rise in the number of orders issued in favour of relatives keen on taking an orphaned child in their family or prospective parents waiting to adopt their step children.

Between October 2022 and August this year, 260 such adoptions have been made.

In comparison, from April 2019 to September 2022, only 230 children were adopted in the 'relative/step children' category, according to authority which works under the ministry of women and child development.

Since October last year, of the 260 domestic adoptions, 202 were relative adoptions and 58 were that of step children. This number was 197 and 33 respectively between April 2019 to September 2022. In case of inter-country adoption in these categories, while 48 NOCs were issued between April 2020 to September 2022 (29 months), already 19 NOCs have been issued since September last year.

If one looks at adoption data since April this year a total of 1,736 adoptions have taken place according to CARA data as of Tuesday. Of these 1,557 children were either orphan, found abandoned or surrendered as per law. The remaining include 165 children have been adopted by their relative or step parents in India itself and 14 children were adopted under the inter-country adoptions category.

Of the 34,171 prospective adoptive parents registered with CARA, as of now there are 2,524 PAPS on the list to adopt under the relative and step children category domestically and there are 55 in the inter-country category.

According to officials before the adoption regulations 2022 were notified, following the notification of the amended Juvenile Justice Rules 2022 to implement the provisions of the Juvenile Justice (Amendment) Act 2021, there were a number of pending applications for relative and step children adoption.

"The adoption regulations 2022 sought to bring clarity and streamline the relative/step parent adoption process. The number of such adoptions are being captured in real-time and collated as a separate category on the CARA dashboard. As a result, clearly there has been an increasing trend since last year," an official explained.

“Also the issuance of the adoption order by the district magistrate to fast-track cases and improved online facilities have played a significant role increasing the number of adoption orders in the relative/step children category. The government sees this as a step forward in encouraging family members keen to adopt an orphaned child within the family through CARA,” officials said.

It has been seen that a lot of relatives keen on family-based adoptions opt for the Hindu Adoption and Maintenance Act (HAMA 1956) as they feel that going through CARA may be a long drawn process. Officials are hopeful that with the processes streamlined this category of people may now come forward to register with CARA. There is also a view to regulate adoptions by creating a system to collect data of adoptions executed among families under HAMA which comes under purview of the ministry of law and justice. Officials also share how the processes have been simplified. For instance, in case of inter-country relative adoption the regulations 2022 have brought more clarity on the process of registration of applications of PAPs residing in foreign countries. “With the inclusion of role of State Adoption Resource Agency (SARA) under the regulation, the process of verification of PAPs and reason of biological family for relative adoption has become more reliable and authentic, thereafter, it becomes easy for CARA to issue family background report and seeking permission from the receiving country,” officials explained.

CARA has put out the stepwise process to be followed for relative and step children adoption cases. As per the process for domestic adoption the relative or step parent has to first register on the designated portal along with the documents. The District Child Protection Unit is then supposed to upload the verification details along with the family background report on the portal. The State Adoption Resource Authority re-verifies the application and uploads it on the portal. It is after this that CARA issues and uplooads the pre-approval letter and all other documents. The district magistrate is then supposed to issue the adoption order within 60 days. Finally, the DCPU has to upload the final order on the portal.

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